Categories
Poetry

Boston: April 15, 2013

by Samuel Fishman | Poetry | Spring 2019

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Image from the Spring 2019 issue

If I ran a marathon,
you say, I would end up
like the guy in the Greek myth.

I would cross the finish line,
rejoice that I’d finished,
then drop dead.

You tighten your grip on the shot glass,
testing its frailty, its resistance to your stress.
know what’s going to happen before you
do, so I ask the bartender for a towel, a
couple of bandaids, rubbing alcohol, and
more alcohol.

I would drop dead, you say, staring at
the front door. When it rattles on its
hinges, you’re so absorbed in its clatter
that you don’t notice your palm as it
splits across the countertop.

Categories
Poetry

Donkey Brains: The Problem Set of Losing Democratic Presidential Candidates Since 1968.

by Samuel Fishman | Poetry | Spring 2019

Image by Enrico Milletti

1968 Problem: The former vice president, and soon-to-be-crook, is leading in the polls. Solution: Allow the presidential convention to take place while a riot is happening outside, and allow the news cameras to film students being sprayed in the mouth with tear gas. Do not refute the soon-to-be-crook’s position as the “law and order candidate.”

1972 Problem: The crook is leading in the polls. Solution: Schedule the nominee, a senator best known for supporting acid, abortion, and amnesty, to give his acceptance speech at three in the morning. When the running mate is revealed to have had depression, support him with 1,000 percent certainty, then drop him.

1980 Problem: The costar of Bedtime for Bonzo is closing in on the president’s lead in the polls. Solution: Keep the president, who was only elected because of the crook, in the Rose Garden, giving speeches about economic malaise and the virtues of wearing sweaters. Appoint the president’s twelve year old daughter as his advisor on the geopolitics of nuclear weapons.

1984 Problem: The costar of She’s Working Her Way Through College is leading in the polls. Solution: Have the nominee, the vice president of the preceding, failed administration who is best known for quoting Wendy’s commercials, confess in his acceptance speech that he will raise taxes. Do not make age an issue of the campaign, while the president is 73.

1988 Problem: The vice-president of the costar of Cattle Queen of Montana is closing in in the polls. Solution: Plop the nominee, a Massachusetts governor whose hobby is writing weekend passes for convicted murderers, in a tank to appeal to veterans. Tell him to smile and point at reporters like he’s a dork trying to impress a prom queen with his performance of “Wonderwall.”

2000 Problem: The former co-owner of the Texas Rangers and the nominee are close in the polls. Solution: Train the nominee, the vice president of the current administration wracked with sex scandals, to act like a disapproving dad from a sitcom during the debates. Have him work in the word, “lockbox,” in all sixteen answers about the federal budget and Medicare reform.

2004 Problem: The misunderestimated Rangers fan and the nominee are close in the polls. Solution: Train the nominee, a Massachusetts senator who has flip-flopped on the Iraq War, to brag about his war record instead of talking about the economy. When Osama bin Laden publishes a videotape, write the nominee a speech saying nothing that the president hasn’t said.

2016 Problem: The second-best host of The Apprentice is doing well nationally.

Categories
Poetry

Direct Flight to Orlando

by Casey Redcay | Poetry | Spring 2019

Image by Clio Schwartz

We go down
into a land of swamp and ruffle

I hide in my middleness
overlookable, a noiseless witness
hanging over families
like a forgotten Mickey Mouse balloon

smiling though no one is paying me to
I am coming home, Orlando
he greets me:

a catcall
from a beat-up truck
snake tongue but slower

a voice that drags
like a stranger’s hand on my back

I will come home to someone
my man is the one
who brings me hotel soap
shiny and papered
labeled
until placeless
piling on my shelf
my precious

my lonesome body
made clean
and still alone
but clean

my disaster spreading
like a suburban housing development
eating the land under us

spreading like the terror on his face
the man next to me stiffening
the air getting even staler
the plane rattling between clouds
his face squeezing like an orange
in an invisible fist until we go down and
everything stops.

Categories
Poetry

Triptych for Fainting Alone

by Casey Redcay | Poetry | Spring 2019

Image from the Spring 2019 issue

Even when I’m in the dark
I’m in the dark with you.

Alice Fulton

1

Like an unlucky fish plucked from the blue
I imagine God tossed me
for a reason
a message shot straight through me
so that I’d fall to the floor and pay attention

2

when I was 15 I used to dream about fainting
into my Unbeknownst Beloved’s arms
a plea for the fact of my existence
to be suddenly made obvious
I wanted helplessness
sinlessness, suddenly
made worth loving
I thought falling was a kind of worship
imagine my luck.

3

now I faint alone, dumped onto the icy tile
wake up and the Dog stands over me asking
why are you so graceless
his scruffy visage now a tower
of white light forever

Categories
Poetry

5:15 Monday Morning

By Grace McAllister | Poetry | Spring 2019

Image by Bridget Conway

1010 WINS makes me sicker in a tunnel, canned voices grate

the same way as the too-fast orange lights.

My dad drives in quiet sympathy.
Everything seems too fast and too slow at once

Or not too slow, but too fast and too empty,

Like leaving town gives every detail an unearned gravity

Which makes the face of each passing building so overwhelmingly rich
That I know I’ll remember none of it.

Before dawn, the whole world gleams

like wet pavement, and every light is the diluted reflection of a light.

All weak and watery

Categories
Poetry

Ode to Eve

By Grace McAllister | Poetry | Spring 2019

Image from the Spring 2019 issue

Gin and ginger ale in hand and
on the worst night of my life,
Eve awarded me my jacket and charged
her marines boyfriend with taking
me home.

Eve is making potato leek soup,
the scales of justice dangling
from her ladle hand as she asks
me to grab the wine from the fridge
please.

We’re at a hotel party
some misguided boy urged her to come to
in his own style of low-effort seduction.
We’re at the McDonald’s on New Year’s,
sipping soda through the too-wide straws.

We’re shivering on Brighton Beach
blue white legs prematurely in shorts,
sunlight deceptively cold as we weigh
down our blanket with our full backpacks.

Categories
Parallax

On-Going: A Translation of “Hingegend” by Anne Duden

by Anne Duden | translated by Elizabeth Yearsley | Parallax | Spring 2019

Image by Haley Johnson

Translator’s Note:

The German title for this poem is a made-up almost-word. “Hingegend:” a combination of hingehen (to go), hingegen (however), gegen (against), and gegend (area, region). Duden plays with her words; she experiments with nearly-neologisms, puns with compound nouns, and wrangles adjectives into nominalizations. Each stanza describes movement that it is somehow static, isolated to the landscape it both clutters and animates.

In “Hingegend,” Duden articulates a journey and renders the particular places she encounters, honoring the bucolic and the urban, the idyllic and the deadly. To communicate the mass of her words, which are often as condensed and inventive as the title, I need to make space for meanings to accumulate in other ways. I’ve done so with dashes, which break words apart where Duden pushes them together, but I’ve found that my attempts to open up these words do just as much to link them together. My hope is that these dashes, like Duden’s poem, probe the bridges and breaks between solid and liquid, earth-bound and flying, gone and ongoing.


Hundsrosen ins eigene Gebein gelegt
Heckenseide gezogen über die Augen
der Gezeitenfrucht Kind.
Entlang zwangseingewiesener Luftholer
wütet das Hirn in Schüben
und blutet zur Seite
stromtote Ableger
ins süße Faulen der Nebenarme
Robinien- und Pappelgestöber.
Rauhreife Blickabsteige
schneeiger Roggen
Hoch-, Hitzegesirr.
Hopfenschnellen am Regen
lächeln sich zu Boden.

Ichausweser
gasgesamt
um die Dome getrieben
der Worte verwiesen
tropfenweise verflüssigt
Ins Rührei geschwemmt.

Auf- und Unterwühlhalde Precinct
Ab-Ahnhof Hannover.
Hier sagten Bäume
zwei Sprechboten
gegen das Licht.

Unter Autorücken aus Zu- und Abschlagstoffen
Tiefgang durchs weggetretene Meer
beim unaufhörlichen Wachsen der Stockwerke
weiter absinkend.
Im Grunde
nötigt sich eine Musikzeile auf.
Und Baumkronen
zerfleddert in anderthalb Sätzen.

Um das: gehöhter Augenblick
Sturm und Verdurstung.
Wippgang ins Nervengebüsch
Laub abgekämpfter Eschen.

Schluchzen Sie nicht.
Lassen Sie hängen
das Abgesparte vom Mund.
Ich gehe jetzt
– alles Vorgefundene
hinter öffentlich verschlossenen Lippen –
in die Wahrnehmung
Hingegend um Nienburg
auf den von oben schon überfahrenen Landstrich
schnell abgeblickte Schönseite.
Denn zeitgleich und überall
auf ihren Tod getroffen
geschleudert
gefetzt
geklatscht.
Im Strecksprung Flug Watschelgang
dabei eigens noch gegengestachelt –gebuckelt
-geballt.

Großer Eisvogel nun
geschwänt hinter Lidern
Gestalt unter Tag
der Gebeinfreien
der Gehör- und Gehäuslosen.

Einem ausgeweinten König
abends ins Nest gelegt
Eulen-Plumeaus
darunter schwerhöriges Wimmern kleiner Organansammlungen.

Stellen Sie sich baldmöglichst ruhig.
Nun entschlafen Sie endlich.

Briar roses split a splinted foot
hedgerow silk pulled over eyes
of a tide-fruit child.
Beside forced to fish-breathe breath-getters
the brain rages in waves
and bleeds to the side
electric-dead offshoots
find the sweet rotting of estuaries
locust and cottonwood flurries.
Frost hostage
snowy rye sight
high-, heat-hum.
Hops spring at rain
smirk themselves to ground.

Ex-I-led
gas-gathered
caught near domes by tides
pulled away by words
liquid now by drops
egg-scramble wash-up.

Over-churned piled-under “precinct”
de-part de-scend Hannover.
Trees spoke here
two messengers
up against the light.

Under carbacks of add- and de-ductives
keel through the stepped away sea
with neverstopping floor-growing
sinking still.
At bottom
a line of music suggests its lack.
And tree crowns
turn ragged in few and a half phrases.

For this: heard-over moment
storm and thirst-death.
Teetering to headgerows
foliage of battle-weary ashes.

No sobbing, you.
Save up to let fall
the sectioned-off part from the mouth.
I’ll go now
– everything before-found
behind openly closed up lips –
in becoming aware
on going around Nienburg
from the above already run over stretch of land
quickly unlooked at attractions.
Since just now and everywhere
run up against their death
bedraggled
beaten
begone.
In duckfooted handspring flight
once again buckled- bent-
balled-against.

Giant icebird soon
swanned behind eyelids
shape beneath day
of the bonefree
of the hear- and house-less.

For a wept away king
evenings laid into its nest
osprey duvet
thereunder hardly-hearing thrums
tiny organ murmurations.

Set yourself still as soon as you can.
You outsleep yourself already.

Categories
Poetry

Ode to a Texas Toad

by Charlie Rinehart-Jones | Poetry | Fall 2018

Art by Benjamin Stevens

Thirsty Lizards Invent Trains
Geese, select, oblige, hunt
Frogs want elegant celery
Wings ingest open breath
Kids abide worthless hammers and toys
Waves shake, worthless matter


I
Greet, spoon, spot, argue
Empty parallels, Direct Beams
Buy chair, “sick wrench”
Greasy rain, thank god
Treasure shame, reflect
Collapse, pathetic volleyball

Categories
Poetry

I Catch Myself

by Grace McAllister | Poetry | Fall 2018

Art by Jacob Butcher

I like to catch myself in a window,
as my form shocks a storefront
or to see my eyes drip down my cheeks
in someone else’s eyeglasses.
In a shadow, my hand
hangs on to my wrist by spit
my expanding-contracting neck
shifting over my dendritic arms.
Car windows tell me
I put myself on the line for vanity,
and lobby doors tell me
my triangle nose points
telling my triangle coat
where to go. 

Categories
Poetry

After Dinner

by Eliana Carter | Poetry | Fall 2018

Art by Brady Marks

we wander downtown to a bar in the
gay neighborhood, block vacant
save for a few cars and a shopping cart,
and take a seat by the window.
The bar is covered in rainbow pinwheels
and Lady Gaga music videos play on the TV.
We sit in silence and flip through a travel brochure.
The bartender, in her most believable accent,
pretends not to know of our youth.
Stiff smiles and a salty bar. Blue Moon, please.
When you leave to go to the bathroom you get stuck
behind the small crowd. I catch your eye from
across the room, heart boiling up in my chest.
Twist the dial to make the colors brighten.
I can’t hear you from across the bar.
It’s gotten so loud between us it’s like we need
a megaphone to shout, How are you feeling?
to yell, to plea maybe. Come back here!
Earlier, at the Thai place, we were caught kissing
in the bathroom and left out the kissing part
when we told the story. Earlier, we tried not
to talk too loud, texts sent in the same room.
I want to take you back to before. Where what we had
was love in clear sentences. Right now I’m slurring my words.
I can’t remember what I meant to say. I think it’s just,
I love you. Louder. I think it’s I’m sorry.